Seascape, Rio del Mar, Seacliff, Cabrillo, Aptos Hills, California

Get a close up view of the Palo Alto Cement Ship shown in the photo above, on the Cement Ship web page. This unincorporated region of Santa Cruz County comprised of the towns Seascape, Rio del Mar, Seacliff, Cabrillo area and Aptos Hills encompasses Mt. Madonna through 10,000 acres of redwoods and canyons, and down to the beaches. Aptos extends into the Corralitos & Larkin Valley hills where you will find horse ranches, wineries and apple orchards. Located along Highway 1, the most prominent landmark is "The Palo Alto" cement ship at Seacliff State Beach. This two mile, sandy beach at the foot of sandstone cliffs offers day parking, camping, swimming, fishing, bicycling and roller blading for starters. 


How Aptos got its name:  It is believed that Native Americans who lived here thousands of years before Mission Santa Cruz was completed by the Spanish in 1794, named this part of the county Awatos or "where the waters meet." The name honors the spot where two creeks joined before traveling together to the bay. During Mexico's reign of the early 1800's, the land was used for cattle. Property was leased for a wharf, general store, lumber mill. After California declared itself a US state in 1850, the sugar king,  millionaire Claus Spreckels bought property and  built a hotel near the beach in 1872.  He also built a summer mansion and ranch with a racetrack for horses and a large fenced area stocked with deer for hunting known as "The Deer Park." 


Spreckels also helped finance the Santa Cruz Railroad which opened in 1876. The original steam engine "Jupiter" is now in the Smithsonian Institute collection in Washington D.C. With the coming of the railroad, the town moved to the other side of Aptos Creek. Spreckels brother-in-law Claus Mangels built a mansion, and Rafael Castro's son-in-law Joseph Arano built the Bayview Hotel. Both are now Bed & Breakfast Inns.  For the next 40 years, Aptos experienced a boom as redwood timber harvesting made its mark. In those 40 years, all the trees were cut down in the region and industry put itself out of business!


Today, you'll feel right at home in Aptos with accommodations ranging from  hotels and historic bed and breakfast inns to park camping. From the rugged, outdoor sports experience to shopping, wine tasting, golf and visits to several museums, Aptos is a fun loving community which boasts it hosts the largest garage sale in the county and smallest 4th of July Parade in the World.  Farmers' market, free musical and theatrical events, demos by local restaurants, the California Open Tennis Tournament, the Cabrillo College Music Festival and the KPIG Fat Fry each summer are a few of the town's highlights. 


It flows up to Mt. Madonna through 10,000 acres of redwoods and canyons, and down to the beaches of Seascape, Hidden, and Seacliff .  Aptos flows into the Corralitos & Larkin Valley hills where you will find horse ranches, wineries and apple orchards. 



Santa Cruz Blues Festival held at Aptos Village Parkk

THINGS TO DO: Rio Del Mar Beach   Rio Del Mar Blvd.  Aptos, CA 95003    (831) 429-2850   A long strip of white sand. You can take your dog for a walk here (with a leash). Also enjoy fine restaurants and shopping nearby. No day fee. Open sunrise to sunset. 

Seacliff State Beach  201 State Park Drive Aptos, CA 95003  (831) 685-6444   An expansive white sand beach offers picnic facilities for day use, and RV camping. Call for RV reservations. Parking fee charged. Open sunrise to sunset. 

Aptos Seascape Golf Course  610 Clubhouse Dr. Aptos, CA 95003  (831) 688-3213  18 holes, 72 par "player friendly" golf course open to the public. 

Aptos History Museum  7605-A Old Dominion Ct.  Aptos, CA 95003  (831) 688-1467

Seacliff State Beach Visitor Center State Park Drive Aptos, CA 95003 (831) 685-6444  Extensive exhibits about "The Palo Alto Cement Ship" along with natural history, marine and plant life exhibits. Books on marine and plant life, history, etc. Call for hours. 

California Airports Distance Driving Time 
San Jose Airport   35 miles 45 Minutes 
San Francisco Airport  62 miles   90 Minutes 
Oakland International   60 miles   90 Minutes 
Monterey Peninsula Airport   43 miles   40 Minutes 
Watsonville Municipal Airport
   14 miles   20 Minutes 
Highway Access    Five State Highways: 1, 9, 17, 129 & 152 (Providing access to U.S. 101) 

rio del

Hot Deals
Save on Tickets


Universal City

Discount Disneyland Tickets


catalina express
Long Beach, Dana Point

Catalina Flyer

Newport Beach

Discount Disney's California Adventure tickets


Knotts Berry Farm
Buena Park

Discount Medieval Times tickets

Buena Park

Discount Pirates Dinner Adventure tickets

Buena Park

Discount Legoland California tickets


Discount San Diego Zoo tickets

San Diego

San Diego

Discount SeaWorld tickets